PROHIBITION AND THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
How the "Noble Experiment" Changed America
This week’s edition of Initiative Radio with Angela McKenzie focuses on the United States Constitution and the Prohibition era in which the sale, manufacture and transport of alcohol was banned. Implemented by the 18th Amendment in 1920 and later repealed with the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933, Prohibition went into effect via the Volstead Act and was promoted by “dry” supporters such as women, religious organizations, labor groups and Progressives nationwide. Although these groups had different agendas, an undisputed reason for the joint effort was the well-being of society and its citizens. But did it achieve what it was supposed to?
Prohibition provided an underground financial basis for organized crime to flourish - from racketeering, police corruption and bootlegging, rather than curtailing crime. It also diminished social conditions when more potent alcohols were introduced and the black market economy rivaled America's formal economy.
This episode focuses on many aspects of Prohibition, ranging from opposition to the Volstead Act, why drunkenness was considered undesirable, the connection to Chicago's most notorious gangster Al Capone and his rival Bugs Moran; government enforced poisoning of alcohol which led to the death of thousands; homemade alcohol like “Bathtub Gin,” the upswing of roaring 20's Jazz music in the Speakeasies and the Rockefeller legacy of supporting the control of intoxicants in society starting with John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and carried on into the 21st century per Nelson Rockefeller's Drug Laws.
Written by Associate Producer: Fatima Shabbir
Angela McKenzie is the Producer & Presenter of Initiative Radio
Historical data referenced from:
- The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution by Richard Beeman
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